Emergency alert causes confusion; OEM says 'civil emergency' wording caused by glitch


An emergency alert that was sent out Tuesday evening was supposed to alert people about a drinking water advisory in Salem, but instead sent much of the state into a panic.

The alert read, “Civil Emergency in this area until 11:28PM PDT Prepare for Action OEM,1, OR.”

FOX 12 spoke with 911 dispatchers who said the received so many calls about the alert that they could not keep count. They said at one point, 50 callers were on hold.

Agencies from the coast to central Oregon responded on Twitter, trying to reassure people that there is no emergency.

Disregard the prior civil alert message you may have received from the State of Oregon, there is no emergency for Lincoln County!! Lincoln C— LC Sheriff's Office (@lcsheriffoffice) May 30, 2018
Some residents received this same message, but there is NO CIVIL EMERGENCY for Clackamas County.Please DO NOT CALL 911. This message was intended for the city of Salem https://t.co/j8ra96ZyAt— Clackamas 911 (@Clackamas911) May 30, 2018
THERE IS NO CIVIL EMERGENCY in Deschutes County. The message was intended to notify those affected by the water issue in Salem. PLEASE DO NOT CALL 911.— Deschutes Sheriff (@DeschutesSO) May 30, 2018

Tuesday night, Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management said the alert was requested by the city of Salem to notify residents about the

water advisory


The emergency alert sent from @OregonOEM was in regard to the drinking water notice in Salem. For more information visit @cityofsalem— OregonOEM (@OregonOEM) May 30, 2018

OEM said they had a technical error when sending the message, and the glitch caused the message to default to "civil emergency" verbiage.

The agency said they are working to learn how and why the issue happened. They said a corrected alert was sent out.

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